Spiced Ghee sauteed Zucchini + Lauki (Indian Bottle Gourd)

Home cooking is what we crave after a while on the road; and this weekend was all about that. The passion for home flavors, fresh spices and farmers market veggies made this incredible meal complete with simple roti, and fresh yogurt.

Lauki, possibly one of the healthiest foods, makes a great canvas for adding in your favorite spice and herb combinations. It pairs well with zucchini because they have similar texture, and are also succulent and juicy.

This recipe is all about the ghee and spices that make these veggies so aromatic, turning it into a delicious curry for your favorite bread or rice/cauli-rice.

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Ingredients:
serves 2-4
2 Indian bottle gourds, medium sized, prepped and chopped
2 zucchinis, diced
1 medium sized red onion, diced
2 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
3 tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp red chilli powder (use 1/4-1/2 tsp for a milder version)
2 tbsp coarse kosher salt
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, for serving
1 lime/lemon wedge for serving

Prep notes: Indian Bottle Gourds or Lauki or Dhoodhi or Sorakka or Opo Squash (are in fact not squash but a gourds….go figure!)

These gourds are often pale green. Both ends need to be trimmed. Then, peeled. The inside bright green layer vegetable has a slightly slippery texture, so be careful as you continue to prep.

They have a spongy and seed filled inside. The seeds and skin of young bottle gourds are edible; but as it matures, these lose some of their tenderness, so they need to be removed.  Use a paring knife or just a spoon, scoop out the seeds and spongy interior.

The hollowed-out bottle gourd is now ready to be cut into smaller pieces.

Method:
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and melt the ghee. Add measured cumin seeds and wait for them to start popping, about 15 seconds. Add the cumin and coriander powders and fry for a couple of seconds. Then add the chopped onions. Mix well.

Saute for 4-5 minutes until the onions start turning golden brown and crisp around the edges.

Now add the tomatoes, and 1 tbsp salt. Cook covered for 5 minutes, until the tomatoes breakdown and become tender.

Add turmeric powder, and red chilli powder. Mix thoroughly and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.

Toss in chopped zucchini, 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, and mix everything together. Saute for 5-6 minutes until the zucchini starts becoming tender.

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Let’s add the chopped lauki, the remaining 1 tbsp salt, toss them all together one more time, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Check at the 6 minute mark to make sure all the veggies are cooked tender, but are not too soft or mushy. Cook a few more minutes if you think is necessary. I cooked it for 3 more minutes from my check point for perfectly tender yet firm veggies.

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Sprinkle more fresh cilantro on top, and serve hot with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before eating.

This makes a delightfully yummy side for simple breads like roti, or paratha. And of course fresh organic indian yogurt is a must!

Happy Sunday everyone!

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